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Friday, February 22, 2008

eSchool Top News and Site of the Week

Please be sure to check out the news below.

TCEA 2008 serves up ed-tech wisdom

New York Times technology columnist David Pogue entertains TCEA conference-goers.
See the eSN-TV video "Teaching the Net Generation".

Educators and ed-tech specialists who attended the 2008 Texas Computer Education Association (TCEA) conference in Austin got a Texas-size helping of new educational technology ideas, approaches, and solutions to take back to their schools.
With more than 8,500 registered attendees from all over the nation, this year's TCEA conference was the largest ever, said TCEA Executive Director Ron Cravey.

Site of the Week

Microsoft and HP introduce new teacher exchange web site

Microsoft and HP have teamed up to introduce an online project called the Teacher Experience Exchange (TEE). This new web site provides educators with a one-stop resource to discuss, share, and learn with other educators and to access tutorials for teaching with technology in the classroom. Educators are encouraged to preview the TEE web site and join the group of initial Teacher Advisors to provide feedback on proposed content, or simply pre-register to become a member and see some of the features to come.

Source: eSchool News

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

e-Learning Reloaded: Top 50 Web 2.0 Tools for Info Junkies, Researchers & Students by Jessica Hupp

The Online Education Database has just published a new article:
e-Learning Reloaded: Top 50 Web 2.0 Tools for Info Junkies, Researchers & Students.

There's a reason why the Web is called the information superhighway-it's full of seemingly limitless resources for learning and research. And with the advent of Web 2.0, harnessing this information has never been easier.
This is such a great list of the best tools for organizing, citing, searching, and more online.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

T.H.E. Journal Online!

Microsoft 'DreamSpark' Makes Software Free for Students
By Dian Schaffhauser

Microsoft has announced a software giveaway program targeted to college and high school students. "DreamSpark" makes available, at no charge, a number of development and design programs for download. The program is now available to more than 35 million college students in Belgium, China, Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the U.K. and the United States.

Related link

Homework or Busywork? Attitudes Soften, but Quality Still Questioned
By Dave Nagel

Educators might be striking a happy balance between homework that's assigned to promote learning and homework that's perceived by students and parents as "busywork." As recently as 2002, a vast 74 percent of secondary students described their homework as busywork. Now, however, that's down significantly, with just 30 percent holding that attitude, according to a new survey conducted by Harris Interactive, the "MetLife Survey of the American Teacher: The Homework Experience." But it also showed a "disconnect" between teachers and parents on the quality of assignments.

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eSchool News Review

U.S. educators seek new ideas abroad by Robert L. Jacobson, Senior Editor.

Have other countries found new keys to educational progress that the U.S. has yet to discover?
What lessons might American educators learn about how other countries are using educational technology? And is that even the right question? An eSchool News review of the subject suggests that the answers are not necessarily clear cut.

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Better Than Bullet Points: Creating Engaging eLearning with PowerPoint by Jane Bozarth

Do you want to create e-learning courses that engage your learners.
Effective e-learning involves much more than just putting PowerPoint shows on the Web.

Better Than Bullet Points: Creating Engaging eLearning with PowerPoint by Jane Bozarth focuses exclusively on the application of PowerPoint to the creation of online training programs. This book fills that gap. By providing in depth guidance, specific instructions, and helpful exercises, the book will enable training practitioners to create impactful learning interactions in PowerPoint.

About Jane Bozarth, M.Ed.

She is North Carolina's self-appointed "E-Learning Goddess". While her specialty is in finding ways to cut the high costs of e-learning, Jane is also a popular classroom instructor and motivational speaker. Recent work travels have taken her to Ireland, Canada, and Australia. She enjoys business writing; her book reviews appear monthly in Training Magazine. She has additionally published feature articles in Training, Journal of Educational Technology and Society, Law Enforcement Trainer Magazine, and Creative Training Techniques Newsletter.
Jane's first book, E-Learning Solutions on a Shoestring, was published by Pfeiffer in 2005, and has been followed with Better than Bullet Points: Creating Engaging E-Learning with PowerPoint and From Analysis to Evaluation: Tools, Tips, and Techniques for Trainers. She has also contributed to the 2008 Pfeiffer Annual on Consulting, The ASTD Handbook for Workplace Learning Professionals, The E-Learning Handbook, and The Trainers' Portable Mentor.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Good Medical Practice, E-Learning From the GMC

The GMC has launched an exciting new interactive web zone for doctors to bring its core guidance, Good Medical Practice, to life.

Good Medical Practice in Action invites the user to be the doctor in a series of ethical case studies which highlight some important issues addressed in the GMC’s guidance booklet.
The action starts with four patients in a waiting room. The user is able to click on one of the patients to watch and listen to their consultation with a doctor. As each ethical dilemma reveals itself, the user is called on to decide which option is the best match to the GMC’s guidance in Good Medical Practice. GMC Standards Committee member Dr Nicola Toynton gives feedback on the user’s decision, with links to the GMC’s website to view the guidance itself.

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Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET)

Just look at these interesting articles, appears in the Australasian Journal of Educational Technology (AJET) 2008, 24(1).

Academic and student use of a learning management system: Implications for quality
Debbi Weaver,
Swinburne University of Technology, Christine Spratt and Chenicheri Sid Nair, Monash University

Many higher education institutions have implemented a learning management system (LMS) to manage online learning and teaching, with varying levels of support provided to staff and students, but often there is little subsequent investigation into the quality of the online sites or the use made of the support structures provided. This paper presents findings from an institutional survey investigating the use of WebCT by academic staff and students in their learning and teaching at a large Australian university.

Prerequisites for interactive learning in distance education: Perspectives from Swedish students
Berit Östlund

This article investigates distance students' understanding of the prerequisites for interactive learning in asynchronous, computer mediated university distance studies. It encompasses students' attitudes to structure, dialogue and autonomy, and their experience of social presence and what they consider interaction with peer learners signifies for their learning. The data were collected from an undergraduate and a masters course within the teacher training distance program, using questionnaires, interviews, diaries and analysis of students' contributions in FirstClass and WebBoard respectively.

Postgraduate students' knowledge construction during asynchronous computer conferences in a blended learning environment: A Malaysian experience
Hong Kian-Sam and Julia Ai Cheng Lee

Blended learning, using e-learning tools to supplement existing on campus learning, often incorporates asynchronous computer conferencing as a means of augmenting knowledge construction among students. This case study reports findings about levels of knowledge construction amongst adult postgraduate students in six asynchronous computer conferences in a blended learning environment. The aim is to document and understand the kinds of task related postings in asynchronous computer conferencing that foster knowledge construction.

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Approaches to Case Analyses in Synchronous and Asynchronous Environments by Trena M. Paulus, Ph.D. and Gina Phipps, Ed.D.

Read this paper I thought you may find interesting, appears in Volume 13, Issue 2, January 2008 edition of Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

Approaches to case analyses in synchronous and asynchronous environments
Trena M. Paulus, Ph.D. and Gina Phipps, Ed.D.


Computer-mediated communication (CMC) tools can be used to integrate time-intensive tasks, such as case study analyses, more easily into formal learning environments. How students talk together online in CMC environments is an area that has not yet been thoroughly investigated. This paper extends findings from a previous study by comparing two groups of preservice teachers analyzing cases in a synchronous and asynchronous environment. A case study and computer-mediated discourse analysis approach was taken to make sense of the discussion transcripts and student reflections. Booth and Hulten’s (2003) taxonomy of learning contributions is used as an analysis framework. Students made more participatory moves to establish presence in asynchronous environments and more interactive moves in synchronous environments. Reflective contributions were made in both environments, with few learning moves made in either. Students participated asymmetrically in both modes. The interplay between types of contributions, affordances of each mode, student preferences and student epistemological beliefs is explored, with implications for the design and analysis of case discussion tasks in CMC environments.

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Special Issue: e-Learning in Health Care

Just look at this interesting line-up in The Electronic Journal of e-Learning, February 2008, Volume 5, Number 4, Special Issue: e-Learning in Health Care:

E-learning is viewed as one way to support the development of healthcare professionals, offering flexible access to materials which enable practitioners to meet life-long learning agendas.
These papers present current international developments in the sector and capture the range of engagement in e-learning from the instructivist provision of information through to engaging students in constructivist learning online.
The growing impetus to develop and embrace e-learning in health care led to the convening of a mini-track at the 6th European Conference on E-Learning (ECEL) held in Denmark in 2007 and to invitations to support this Special Edition of the journal.

A Nurse Prescribing Programme Incorporating e-Learning
Joan Burgess
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Winchester, UK

Exploring Virtual Opportunities to Enhance and Promote an Emergent Community of Practice
Kathy Courtney
Coventry University, UK

Mollie Gilchrist
Coventry University, UK

Lesley Lockyer, Pam Moule and Deirdre McGuigan
University of the West of England, Bristol, UK

Y.Q. Mohammed, G. Waddington, and P. Donnan
University of Canberra, Australia

Andy Pulman,
School of Health & Social Care, Bournemouth University, UK

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Editor of BNN, Dave Mastio has been in touch to reminds us about the following below: has just launched BNN/Education , a single site to track what's going on in the Education blogosphere. The site's core is links to the latest posts from the best Education blogs, targeted Education blog search and a handy headline service Education bloggers can use to promote each others' latest posts (found under "services" in the left rail).
You'll also find links to the news stories Education bloggers have linked most in the last 24 hours, where the most new comments are and which blogs are producing the most new posts.

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Columbia University Partners with Microsoft to Digitize Books

Columbia University and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating on an initiative to digitize a large number of books from Columbia University Libraries and make them available to Internet users. With the support of the Open Content Alliance (OCA), publicly available print materials in Columbia Libraries will be scanned, digitized, and indexed to make them readily accessible through Live Search Books.

Columbia University and Microsoft are partners in the Open Content Alliance, along with the Boston Library Consortium, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Toronto among others. The alliance, which has made open access a core component of its mission, is scanning only out-of-copyright materials.
The initiative will allow students, researchers, and scholars to have global access to books in the public domain from the Libraries’ outstanding collections via Live Search Books. Published material in digital libraries offers an alternative and reliable source of information to that gleaned from general web searches.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.2 million volumes, over 65,650 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

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Forthcoming Webcasts Innovate

James L Morrison, Editor-in-Chief, Innovate reminds us about the following below.

The February/March author webcast series begins Tuesday, February19th. Check out the schedule at:

Related link

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Virtual Reality Campus Draws Students by Ian MacDonald

Prof teaches classes on an island campus in Second Life

Computer program Second Life allows users to enter a virtual world with a very real economy, and a MUN business prof is putting the popular virtual world to work for him and his class. Spanning over 65,000 acres and home to a population of more than 12 million, Second Life is one of the largest and most popular virtual worlds on the market.
Users just have to pick a name, download the program, and customize their character, which is called an avatar. After that they’re dropped off to terrorize the town, meet some people, or create a business to earn some cash. If you’re feeling really spiffy, you can buy an island or two, like MUN did.
“Memorial University and Distance Education actually have two islands that they have in Second Life,” said MUN business prof Lyle Wetsch. “They’ve built a campus for us on one of the islands.”

Source: The Muse

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What Do You Mean When You Say "Usability"? By Carol M. Barnum

In this article, author Carol Barnum, director of the Usability Center at Southern Polytechnic State University, provides a workable definition for usability and a foundation for making online courses more usable and successful.

Usability and e-learning seem a natural fit. Usability is one of the five subject areas on eLearn Magazine's homepage. That's a good thing. But do we all mean the same thing when we say "usability"?
If you are using the term interchangeably with "assessment"—whether by students or experts or perhaps yourself as the surrogate student and actual expert—then you are using it to mean something less than it should. If you think of usability as meaning quality, particularly as it refers to the quality of the content, you're addressing an important criterion of usability, but you are not getting at the crux of the matter. Likewise, if you equate usability with validation, particularly as it refers to the functionality of the learning management system (LMS), then you are again restricting usability to something that can be checked, confirmed, and certified as usable, but you are not getting at the true meaning of usability.

About the Carol M. Barnum, Ph.D.
She is the Director of the Usability Center, Southern Polytechnic State University, Marietta (Georgia), USA, and graduate program coordinator for the M.S. program in Information Design and Communication, including four online graduate certificate programs in technical communication and advanced topics.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

ALEKS Debuts Online Math System by Dave Nagel

Education technology developer ALEKS has debuted a new online math tool called QuickTables.

Targeted toward grade 3 and up, the system is designed to provide math practice coupled with individualized assessments for immediate remediation.
ALEKS QuickTables focuses on mastery addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with an interactive "Student Module" for ongoing assessments, progress tracking, review, practice, and various other features. It also includes interactive educational games and correlates with NCTM standards.

Related links

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education-TOJDE, Volume 9, Number 1, January 2008

Don't miss these articles from Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education TOJDE, Januar 2008, Volume 9, Number 1. This the first issue of the year 2008.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Feza ORHAN,
Yildiz Technical University,

This article describes a collaborative study of the blended learning approach, designed to pave the way for higher education students to integrate online and face-to-face learning environments in an “Instructional Technology and Material Development” course at the University of Yildiz Technic in Turkey.
The purpose of this study is to investigate the students’ perceptions of the blended learning environment and to trace the integration between online and face-to-face learning environments. For this purpose, 30 students were given statements on the redesigned course, which they rated on a 5-point Likert scale. To probe more deeply into their positive and negative responses, a focus group discussion was held to gather the students’ views. The findings are reveal that the majority of the students (90%) enjoyed being in the blended learning environment.
However, improvement in methods of application and online study materials are needed. Additionally, other factors that may be salient in blended learning environment are also discussed.

Abant Izzet Baysal University,

The purpose of this study is to develop an attitude scale toward Internet-based learning (IBL) and to investigate whether attitude levels of Turkish distance learners in an IBL environment differ according to their demographical characteristics (i.e. age, gender, marital status, parental status, employment status, grade point average (GPA). Research data were gathered from 804 (491 male and 313 female) learners in an IBL environment at Sakarya University, Turkey. Explanatory factor analysis identified three factors with eigenvalues >1. The scale appears to be a reliable and valid instrument to assess the attitude levels of learners toward IBL. The analyses of demographical characteristic differences on the scale indicate that married learners, working learners and learners with children have significantly higher attitude levels toward IBL than those of unemployed and single learners and learners with no children. Male distance learners demonstrate significantly higher attitude levels than females do on the majority of the subscales. In general, learners over age of 26 have statistically higher attitude levels than those of younger learners. Attitude levels of learners with poor GPAs are significantly lower than those of learners with better GPAs. The findings are consistent with the related literature.

Dr. Sami SAHIN,
Gazi University,

Distance education and web-based courses are mainstream in the United States higher education and growing (NCES, 2003) involving over 80% of four year public universities in 2002. The National Academy of Science review of “how people learn” suggests that technology-mediated learning can be used to respond to students’ preferences and related characteristics.
This investigation of the relationships between learners’ characteristics and their perception of web-based learning and satisfaction with their course used Kolb’s (1984) Learning Styles Inventory and Walker’s (2003) distance education learning environment instrument plus demographic questions to survey 279 students in five web-based undergraduate courses in a Midwestern university. The study founds that the three dimensions of Moore’s Transactional Distance Theory may be linked with Kolb’s two dimensional views of individual learning styles. For example, introductory biology courses with high structure are perceived as more satisfactory by students who prefer a more “abstract conceptual” learning style for “knowledge grasping.”
The author recommends that courses are designed to accommodate multiple learning styles with variety on all dimensions of transactional distance.

Happy reading to all of you.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasting, Center for Teaching Excellence

Seminar on Blogs, Wikis, and Podcasting

This seminar will introduce the basics of blogs, wikis, and podcasting, and their potential uses in and out of the classroom. Examples of projects and assessment rubrics will be discussed.
Dr. Lara Lomicka Anderson and Dr. Lara Ducate
University of South Carolina
February 26, 2008
2:00-3:15 p.m.

About the Presenters

Lara Lomicka Anderson is an Associate Professor of French at the University of South Carolina. She participants in an award-winning intercultural project, Raison d'Etre, which involves telecollaboration (webcams and microphones), regular chat, email exchanges, podcasting, and a collaborative blog. She has published several articles on technology in Language Learning and Technology, CALICO Journal, System, and Foreign Language Annals, as well as an edited volume entitled Teaching Technologies and is the Software Review Editor for the CALICO Journal.

Lara Ducate is an Assistant Professor of German at the University of South Carolina where she also coordinates the lower division German program. Her research focuses on teacher training, weblogs and podcasts, and computer-mediated communication. She recently co-edited a volume on technology in foreign language teaching entitled Calling on CALL: From Theory and Research to New Directions in Foreign Language.

View Live. This link activates approximately 1/2 hour before the event.

The teaching guide consists of videos and on-line resources. In addition, we have identified local faculty and staff members' willing to share their knowledge and experience in teaching theory and practice.

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An Online Teacher Tells It Like It Is

Errol Craig Sull has been teaching online for 12 years. He frequently conducts workshops on and writes about distance learning and currently teaches for Excelsior College.

Teaching Online: One Teacher’s Story

Can a traditional, true-blue classroom teacher, who welcomes a sprinkle of chalk dust on his sportcoat, transition to teaching online? What do I do about student interaction? How am I going to engage my students with only bits and bytes at my disposal? Those questions loomed as I listened to my department
chair tell me of the decision to launch the department’s first distance learning (DL) course, and that I should teach it.
Although I eagerly agreed — I knew this was the future of education and I wanted to be part of it — I wondered whether an old-school teacher could succeed in this brave, new world.

By Dr. Kenneth E. Hartman

Communications in an online course is very different than an on campus or face-to-face course. You are, in a very real sense, defined by what you “say” as you type. How you say it, how often you say it, and to whom you say it will often determine how well you’ll do academically and socially in an online course or online degree program.

Related link

About Dr. Kenneth E. Hartman
He is the academic director at Drexel University Online. His free
Podcast for new online students can be found at:

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Saturday, February 09, 2008

eSchool Top News and Site of the Week

Please be sure to check out the news below.

TCEA attendees learn how 'high-tech scavenger hunts' can benefit their students
By Laura Devaney, Associate Editor

You might not expect to see groups of educators running from place to place in downtown Austin, but that's exactly what passersby saw Feb. 7 as attendees of the Texas Computer Education Association's annual conference participated in "geocaching"--an outdoor scavenger hunt in which enthusiasts across the planet use handheld global positioning system (GPS) devices to locate hidden outdoor objects.
Educators can use "geocaching" in lessons on satellites, latitude and longitude, mapping, distance, and problem solving, as well as collaboration.

Related link

Site of the Week

CoSN launches technology leadership wiki for small school districts

The Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) has created a new online resource designed to help technology leaders in small school districts. Called the Small School District Technology Leadership wiki, the site allows users not only to learn from there sources provided by CoSN and other sources, but also to contribute to the site by adding their own best practices, tips, strategies, case studies, and resources.

eSchool News

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Innovate Volume 4, Issue 3, February/March 2008

James L Morrison, Editor-in-Chief, Innovate has been in touch to reminds us about the following below.

The articles in the February/March 2008 issue, guest edited by Cathy Gunnand and Susan Patrick, offer a range of studies that contribute to an evidence-based framework to sustain further innovation in online teaching and learning. Innovate-Live webcasts, produced by our partner, ULiveandLearn, allow you to synchronously interact with authors on the topics of their articles.

In the first article of this issue, Susan Lowes focuses on the"trans-classroom" teacher who works in both face-to-face and online classrooms, and attempts to track how such teachers make shifts in ideas, strategies, and practices that constrain or improve their practice in either venue.
[See] Her webcast is scheduled for March 26 at 3:00 PM EST.

Rayenne Dekhinet, Keith Topping, David Duran, and Silvia Blanch studied a primary school program that linked English-speaking learners of Spanish with Spanish-speaking learners of English. Their study provides insight on how Internet technology can be leveraged to enhance language learning.
[See]. Their webcast is schedule for March 26 at 11:00 AM EST.

To what degree do online learning environments sustain high levels of engagement in students? Pu-Shih Daniel Chen, Robert Gonyea, and George Kuh discuss the implications of their study of the engagement of distance learners versus their campus-based counterparts at U.S.four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities.
[See]. Their webcast is schedule for March 26 at 2:00 PM EST.

Julie Foertsch and Morton Ann Gernsbacher describe the principles of effective education and evaluate their value for online instruction by assessing an online course on autism against each of the principles.
[See]. Their webcast is scheduled for February 22 at 2:00 PM EST.

Len Annetta, Marta Klesath, and Shawn Holmes describe virtual learning environments and the use of avatars to foster social presence in these environments as they examine how gaming and avatars are engaging online students.
[See]. Their webcast is scheduled for February 19 at 1:00 PM EST.

Next, Lydia Arnold examines the learning concepts incorporated in an online bachelor's degree focused on experiential learning and examines the benefits and challenges integrating learning into the student's workplace in order to improve student engagement.
[See]. Her webcast is scheduled for February 19 at 11:00 AM EST.

We end the issue with a new feature for Innovate: Reid Cornwell's multimedia interview column titled Perspectives. This month's entry features a discussion with Tony Gardner-Medwin about certainty-based marking, a computer-based assessment system that scores answers to objective questions based both on the correctness of the answer and on the student's assessment of his or her certainty that the answer is correct.
[See]. Their webcast is scheduled for February 19 at 12:00 PM EST.

You may register for webcasts at
All times are Eastern Standard Time (New York). You may use the world clock at to coordinate with your timezone.

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Editor's Hand Picked Headline News

Karl Fisch: Creating Lifelong Learners by Bridget McCrea

Many technology pioneers come from, well, technology backgrounds. Not Karl Fisch, a former math teacher whose role over time evolved into the director of technology at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, CO. Starting with three years of teaching middle school math in the early 1990s, Fisch noticed technology "inching its way" into the school administration and classrooms after years of seeing all recordkeeping handled at each institution's central office.

Source: T.H.E. Journal

University of Wollongong: Statistical Literacy

Statistics surround us in the form of polling reports, census data, and the other seemingly mundane details of life. This site created by the University of Wollongong offers up a series of modules designed to help users learn about the world of statistics. As their site suggests, the modules will help users become more knowledgeable about surveys and scientific experiments.

UMass Boston OpenCourseWare

Like many other institutions, the University of Massachusetts, Boston has decided to make a foray into the world of OpenCourseWare. While the courses offered online here will not lead towards a formal degree (or confer course credit), they represent some of the best that the school has to offer.
Visitors can click on the "Courses" tab to learn more about the current offerings, which include course materials on political science, biology, history, along with nursing and health sciences. Moving on, visitors can also take a look at their FAQ area and send in feedback on the site and its contents. Additionally, visitors can sign up for RSS feeds and they will be notified when new material is added to the site.

Source: The Scout Report

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

The AACE Journal Vol. 15, Iss. 3, 2007

Don’t miss these articles, appears in the AACE Journal Vol. 15, Iss. 3, 2007

E-Learning Today: A Review of Research on Hypertext Comprehension
Chadron State College
Chadron, NE USA

Use of hypertext is pervasive in education today—it is used for all online course delivery as well as many stand-alone delivery methods such as educational computer software and compact discs (CDs). This article will review Kintsch’s Construction-Integration and Anderson’s Adaptive Control of Thought-Rational (ACT-R) cognitive architectures and examine how each explains the empirical evidence of comprehension problems related to the use of hypertext systems. This article also discusses design tools based on those two architectures (Cognitive Walkthrough for the Web [CWW] and Scent-Based Navigation and Information Foraging in the ACT [SNIF-ACT] respectively) that can help educational content developers screen their hypertext products for possible comprehension problems prior to its release.


Factors Impeding Implementation of Web-Based Distance Learning
The Federal Polytechnic
Damaturu, Nigeria

Economic and technological changes are occurring at an accelerating rate in our information and communication-based society, making life-long learning for everyone a necessity. This is particularly the case in the transition period from industrial production to a knowledge and communication-based society. The confluence of technology, demographics, and work/family requirements make life-long learning imperative (Berge, 1998). Distance learning is an excellent method of reaching the adult learner. Because of the competing priorities of work, home, and school, adult learners desire a high degree of flexibility. The structure of distance learning gives adults the greatest possible control over the time, place, and pace of education; however, it is not without problems. Loss of student motivation due to the lack of face-to-face contact with teachers and peers, student frustration in learning and training, potentially prohibitive start up costs, and lack of faculty support are all barriers to successful distance learning (Galusha, 1997). This literature review examines some of the thoughts on distance learning and its barriers particularly types that are delivered by way of electronic means.

Source: AACE Journal

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The Journal of Educators Online, Volume 5, Number 1, January 2008

Just to let you know that these three papers, appears in The Journal of Educators Online, Volume 5, Number 1, January 2008, representing the areas of online equivalency, student withdrawals and strategic change, all written in an easy to read style you will find useful.

  • Ruth Lapsley, Brian Kulik, Rex Moody, and J. B. (Ben) Arbaugh’s Is Identical Really Identical? An Investigation of Equivalency Theory and Online Learning report no course delivery effect for a human resource management course on student performance. Ruth, Brian, Rex and Ben highlight some related issues such as support for higher for online class prices.

  • Beth Perry, Jeannette Bowman, Dean Care, Margaret Edwards, and Caroline L. Park’s Why Do Students Withdraw from Online Graduate Nursing and Health Studies Education? identify classic personal and program factors causing withdrawal. Beth, Jeannette, Dean, Margaret and Caroline encourage early intervention by getting to know at-risk students and to view attrition in a positive light assisting with student career choice.

  • Cynthia C. Roberts’ Technology in Higher Education: A Strategic Approach applied a strategic change process to implement a shift to online courses. Cynthia reports a successful outcome mitigated with additional time and availability burdens on faculty.


Source: The Journal of Educators Online (the JEO)

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Monday, February 04, 2008

Students flocking to online study as a flexible way to work for degree by AMY ROLPH

Forget those uncomfortable, plastic classroom chairs and their 12-inch, fold-down, wannabe-desk extensions.

Millions of college students around the country attend class from living-room sofas, kitchen tables, home offices and even park benches -- part of an ever-escalating trend of attending school online.
The trend is being set largely by community colleges, with their propensity for nontraditional students who need an easier, more flexible way to earn degrees. The number of students taking online classes in Washington has jumped 75 percent in just four years.
In Seattle, North Seattle Community College is leading the way with a course catalog that lists an increasing number of online options.


Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

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Statistical Understanding Made Simple

Teaching statistics can be tough for even experienced instructors, so it is nice to learn about the Statistical Understanding Made Simple (SUMS) website.

Created by researchers at the University of Glasgow, the site helps users build "interactive, fun and highly effective tutorials designed to help students understand basic statistics."
S.U.M.S is a free resource for people who teach statistics.

Source: Internet Scout Project

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Sunday, February 03, 2008

Stephen Downes and Lisa Neal in eLearn Magazine February 1, 2008.

I enjoyed reading Lisa Neal's blog entry. I found it quite informative.

Paul English, a fellow U Mass Boston alumni, set up a site to get human assistance when calling a toll free number. While a useful service, there is also the problem of what to do while on hold. Generally you’re stuck listening to music that you would not normally add to your playlist, to say the least. With a speakerphone or wireless headset, it is easy to do something else while waiting. But instead, why not make it a teachable moment?

Stephen Downes and Lisa Neal turned this into a column in eLearn Magazine February 1, 2008.

It can be a fine line that distinguishes advertising from education. Each seeks to modify beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors through the timely presentation of information. Each seeks to engage the viewer, to address a particular need, to pose a solution to a problem.
Successful advertising, like successful learning, is remembered.
The jingle plays in our memory, the brand jumps off the store shelf, and the phone number springs to mind when it's time to call for a pizza.

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Scandinavian Research in Network-Based Learning

Read these articles I thought you may find interesting, appears in Vol. 10, Issue 4, 2007 edition of Educational Technology & Society.
The articles giving you an overview of current Scandinavian research in network-based learning.

There is a long tradition regarding distance education in Scandinavia. The first form of this type of education was called folk high school (institutions of informal education for adults) and started in 1844 in Rødding, Denmark.
The folk high school was created for adult people and most often it was carried out in the form of a boarding school. The main ideas behind the folk high school approach were formulated by N.F.S. Grundtvig (1783–1872); a Danish teacher, philosopher and pastor. Grundtvig's pedagogical ideas were focused on learners´ active participation and experimentation during their studies.
More than fifty years later, the first correspondence study institute (Hermods) was created in Malmö, Sweden in 1898. The main idea of Hermods was to provide educational materials and feedback to students by mail. The Hermods institute still exists, although the traditional letter-based courses have been replaced by Internet-based materials. The concepts of learners´ involvement and active participation inspired by Grundtvig´s ideas are still central components in many of the current network-based learning approaches used in Scandinavia.

Design and Use of Collaborative Network Learning Scenarios: The DoCTA Experience
By Barbara Wasson

Dynamic Assessment and the “Interactive Examination”
By Anders Jönsson, Nikos Mattheos, Gunilla Svingby, Rolf Attström

Participation in an Educational Online Learning Community
By Anders D. Olofsson

Framing Work-Integrated e-Learning with Techno-Pedagogical Genres
By Lars Svensson, Christian Östlund


Netlearning and Learning through Networks
By Mikael Wiberg


Anytime, Anywhere Learning Supported by Smart Phones: Experiences and Results from the MUSIS Project
By Marcelo Milrad, Daniel Spikol


Structuring and Regulating Collaborative Learning in Higher Education with Wireless Networks and Mobile Tools
By Sanna Järvelä, Piia Näykki, Jari Laru, Tiina Luokkanen


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